Video from the Mass in Boston (FANTASTIC BOYS CHOIR ALERT!)

The other day I had the great privilege of celebrating a Solemn Mass at St. Paul’s, the parish for Harvard University.  The music was provided by the Boston Archdiocesan Boy’s Choir.  They have the only boys’ choir school in the United States.  And can they sing!

Someone posted on YouTube a couple mobile phone videos from the Mass.  The videos aren’t great, but you can hear something of the wonderful music.  They did Victoria’s Missa Quarti Toni and Palestrina’s Sicut cervus, which almost always leaves me choked up.


I think they need to work a bit on shaping the beginnings and ends of phrases.  But, hey!

Sicut cervus

Sanctus – Consecration – Benedictus

This was the first time that the Boys Choir sang from the choir loft in, apparently, many years.  It was a huge success and they sounded spectacular.

The Mass was wonderful.  Everyone involved in the organization and celebration have reason to be proud of the beautiful thing that was done for God.

The great Fathers Jay Finelli and Thomas Kocik were there in choir!  Bloggers both.  It was a pleasure to see them.

An action shot.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StJude says:


    And there is @Ipadre!

  2. sisu says:

    Not knowing anything about the Parish (in town on business), I bopped in for morning weekday Mass – amazed to see a procession of choristers and beautiful singing thereafter. The sweetest part of it was that they went first to Blessed Sacrament to kneel and sing, before going over the choir side.
    What an exceptional place.

  3. Soporatus says:

    All this elaborate ritual and fancy clothes and fine singing is pathetic nonsense
    unless you believe in the literal Real Presence

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    Oh my gosh Fr Z what a great picture of you.

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    Last Picture: “And then the poor widow made a very sticky dough… – oh, sorry, wrong Sunday”

  6. Marg says:

    Beautiful! Wish we had known about it…we would have made a hugh effort to attend. Here we are only 45mins. away. Next time, I hope.

  7. Spaniard says:

    Amazing!! just a doubt: are the servers and choir members dressed in grey habits form a specific order?

  8. HighMass says:

    So we take it that You were the Main Celebrant Fr. Z….how beautiful, bellisimo! The most beautiful liturgy this side of Heaven…………
    God Bless Pope Benedict XVI and You Fr. Z!

  9. pinoytraddie says:

    One of the guys in the pew(as seen in the offertory video)is reading a campion missal and taking a video.

  10. bvb says:

    @Spaniard: They’re CFRs (Franciscan Friars of the Renewal) or else they’re stealing their habit :) A friend of mine is somewhat obsessed with them, so I’ve seen many, many photos.

  11. campello says:

    The mass was amazing. I had quite a few glimpses of the “terrifying and alluring.”

  12. Max Hernandez says:

    They are Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

  13. OrthodoxChick says:

    How can any Catholic possibly look at these videos of the TLM and not see the stark contrast between what used to be our regular/standard/only sacred Mass, and what we have today in most parishes?

    I’ll bet that if we could take the same child to a TLM, an N.O., and a protestant service, even a child would see that the N.O. and the protestant service are much more similar, save for the Consecration.

    Sacred is as sacred does.

  14. OrthodoxChick says:


    The same order that is in Griswold, CT? Are they in Massachusetts also, or are some of those brothers from Griswold? I was down at Griswold last fall and Br. Ignatius is amazing!

  15. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Oh to have been there! Thank you, thank you, Father, for sharing such beauty with your readers!

  16. That’s a great photo of you, Fr. Z.

  17. mamajen says:

    I recognized iPadre straight away from the avatar he uses here. How neat that he was there!

    The singing was exquisite.

  18. mezzodiva54 says:

    Have not been in St. Paul’s since my son was a chorister, so being there brought back many memories. A beautiful mass, Father Z, and a pleasure to see you in person. I am curious — where did the lovely vestments come from? [Sorry, I don’t know.] They are certainly not ordinary fare for St. Paul’s. I hope I will not have to wait another 50 years for another Extraordinary Rite mass; perhaps next time they can find where they mislaid the altar rail cushions — ouch, that marble was hard on these old knees!

  19. cheerios in my pocket says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    The only boys choir? How sad. ‘Twas truly beautiful. My children were blessed to attend a school in northeast Ohio where the Schola Cantorum is the entire school (about 50 students) along with the Tutors (Socratic method of a Liberal Education). Here is a link for theirs:
    Just this past week, they were invited to EWTN to sing for the Holy Mass (not EF) on Thursday. It is a wonderful school, and I am certain they would appreciate your stopping by if you are ever in the area…The Lyceum School.

  20. iPadre says:

    It was a pleasure to finally meet you in the flesh!

    Beautiful Mass and sermon and the talk following was right on!

  21. MacBride says:


  22. APX says:

    Ah, this is liturgical dance that I can approve of.

  23. david andrew says:

    Perhaps the only Catholic boys’ residential choir school, but hardly the only boys’ choir school in the US. Let’s not forget the famous St. Thomas Choir School in NYC.

  24. Denis says:

    I’m experiencing parish envy.

  25. benedetta says:

    Very beautiful! Great photos! I especially liked that offertory motet.

  26. jmcglone says:

    @mezzodiva54: We do about 4 or 5 TLMs at St. Paul’s every semester (only during the Harvard academic year, as they are student initiative in the parish). There isn’t a regular schedule yet, but there has been at least one for each of the last 5 semesters, happening ever more frequently as time goes on. You can sign up for our email list and we’ll send you an invitation whenever we have one:

  27. disco says:

    I must have been sitting right behind the guy filming. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay for the talk afterwards though. Will that be posted soon?

  28. introibo says:

    5 stars! This is THE expressing of our Catholic identity – the good, the true, the beautiful. Oh if people could only see, hear and realize what they are missing! When can the hold of the liturgical Philistines be exorcized? How long, O Lord?

  29. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Those are beautiful vestments, Father.

  30. Charivari Rob says:

    David Andrew, it’s that they’re the only Catholic (well, Roman Catholic, anyway – can’t speak for the rest of the Church family) diocesan boy’s choir school in the USA. Somewhat like Cathedral Prep in Brooklyn being the only (remaining) diocesan preparatory seminary high school in the USA.

  31. Gratias says:

    It is such progress to now have Solemn EF masses back, organized by Diocesan priests no less. I have been fortunate to attend two solemn masses, in California and in Italy. Both were with Gregorian chant, not such fancy music. What a good day for Harvard students. Was there anything nice in the sermon?

    Thank you Father Z for the wonderful work you do for our Catholic Church. You Gould make Bishop of the Internet Sea, or at a minimum Monsignor (just kidding). [Monsignor? Great! I’d be delighted. Bishop? No thanks! Not even of a puddle, much less a “Sea”… or a See.]

  32. Gratias says:

    For a Solemn Mass narrated by Bp. Fulton Sheen in 1941 see:

  33. Pingback: New videos of the Mass | Catholicism and Adventism

  34. JonPatrick says:

    Orthodox Chick, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate also have a Friary in New Bedford MA (Diocese of Fall River), the Marian Friary of Our Lady Queen of the Seraphic Order (love that name!).

  35. PA mom says:

    Regarding being an outgoing Church rather than “self referential”, when something wonderful like this is in the works, would it be possible to contact suburban churches to do a follow up Mass 1/2 hour-45 mins away?
    Like a field trip for everyone, bringing to another parish the gift o this Beautiful Mass, while they are still unable or not quite ready to pull out all the stops within their own parish?

    [Would it be possible? Sure. Work hard enough and it will be possible.]

  36. wolfeken says:

    Beautiful Mass — many thanks for sharing the video and audio. That is a beautiful setting of the Mass written by Father Victoria — and sung the way he intended it (male voices).

    “bvb” — if only those were Franciscan Friars of the Renewal…!

  37. HighMass says:

    Beautiful Celebration of the Holy Mass Fr. Z. Question: was the choir singing the Benedictus after the Consecration??? [Of course. Yes, the Benedictus is sung after the consecrations in the Extraordinary Form.]
    I do remember this happening Prior to the council….is this where the Mem. Acc. comes from in the N.O.???? [Oh dear… no. That is not where that came from. That comes from the minds of experts engaged by the Consilium who thought that they knew better how the Canon should be.]

    Thanks Fr. For You tubing the Holy Mass…..again nothing more beautiful this side of Heaven

  38. j says:

    The men’s Schola and the boys of the Archdiocesan Choir school regularly sing the OF Masses at St Paul. The practice for decades has been for the men to sing the chant, and on a given Sunday, only selections of what COULD be sung (usually Responsorial Psalms or Anthems are substituted). John Robinson is to be especially commended in his insistence on this Mass being a learning experience for the boys; note that the BOYS sang everything, no cuts, no simple chant, just some antiphonal singing on the Psalms with the men. More than a few chanters were sitting in the congregation, hopeful for the next generation.

  39. Mike says:

    I have only once been to this Church (Easter Sunday 1990), and this brings back some memories. Congrats, Father. It looks like it was a wonderful day for St. Paul’s.

  40. Michaelus says:

    Thank you for posting these – both of my sisters were married at that church. Hearing that choir brings back very happy memories.

  41. Steve Cavanaugh says:

    Re: Singing the Benedictus after the consecration.

    According to the instruction on music from the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1958 (which would govern usage in Masses according to the 1962 Missal):

    27. d) If the Sanctus-Benedictus are sung in Gregorian chant, they should be put together without interruption; otherwise, the Benedictus should be sung after the Consecration.

    In other words, if the Sanctus-Benedictus is from the Kyriale, then sing it completely before the Canon; but if it’s a polyphonic version (as it was at St. Paul’s), then sing the Benedictus after the Consecration. This is how it has been done in my experience over the past 10 years or so.

    (PS, I took the videos.)

  42. Serviam1 says:

    My shameless plug for the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School:

    Here is the PBS episode on the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School (BACS). My son entered the first (new) 4th grade there last September.

    I might mention that Catholic religious education is excellent at this school, with its curriculum based on the ‘Faith and Life’ catechetical series by Ignatius Press.

  43. mburduck says:

    Hey…I know that guy in the action shot!!

    You might not want to be a bishop, Father, but I think you’d make a great Dean of Arts and Sciences at my university!


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